One of the highlights of attending a university is living in a dorm. Even the drawbacks of such a lifestyle tend to rekindle wistful nostalgia in those who’ve experienced it: the lack of space and privacy, the communal bathrooms and showers, the noise and partying that last into the wee hours of the morn, the roommate who never picks up after himself, the nosey resident assistant (RA), the leaky ceilings, the bug infestations. Who knew the smell of alcohol-infused vomit could bring back so many pleasant memories?
If you attend an online school and still live at home with your folks or family, you might feel a little envious of the living arrangements that alumni fondly reflect back on years after graduating from a brick-and-mortar school. So in the event that you just need to find out what you’ve been missing, here are 7 ways you can outfit your bedroom or home office to make it resemble what you might find in 1978’s Animal House or the mockumentary web series Dorm Life.
1. Milk crates and cinderblocks. Throw out those old suburban chest-of-drawers and bookshelves. The milk crates can be used to house most anything, from papers to dry goods to your underwear, whereas the cinder blocks, along with four six-foot boards, can be used to construct a makeshift bookcase — which can then be lined with copies of Maxim and your beer bottle collection.
2. Mini fridge. Who wants to march all the way into your mom’s kitchen to defrost a bean burrito while you’re in the middle of writing an essay on the Great Emu War? A mini fridge will set you back about $100 and can be placed right next to your work area to minimize on wasteful movement. But don’t think about stocking up on anything nourishing or substantive. Beer, Dr Pepper, Hot Pockets and assorted mustard and ketchup packets from fast food eateries are your most authentic dorm room staples.
3. Ambient noise. If you can, try to procure an audio recording of the actual goings-on of a dormitory night and day and play it on repeat with the volume set to 11. Such distraction will make it charmingly difficult to study for your bio exam or complete your physics homework.
4. Christmas lights. Who cares if it’s in the middle of May? Santa won’t disapprove. Deck your walls with these brilliant bulbs to create a relaxed, decidedly non-academic atmosphere.
5. Ironic or vulgar posters. Nothing says “dorm room” like a poster of a loosened-up Einstein sticking his tongue out at the viewer. For (straight) guys, Sports Illustrated models or Playboy centerfolds are always a classic choice; for the ladies, consider a hunky cowboy wall calendar. But if these options seem too mainstream, if you want to be cryptic and postmodern, spring for a 19th-century beard trimming chart or a movie poster for an obscure 1930s Norwegian film.
6. Do-nothing roommate. To make your room scarily realistic, hire a John Belushi-look-alike to do nothing other than sleep in his skivvies all day and eat Funyuns and smoke weed all night. Give him a bonus if he’s proficient at conversing about conspiracy theories.
7. Bong. This should come standard. Just remember to hide it before an RA (i.e., your mom or spouse) starts nosing around the room.
If you follow these simple suggestions, you won’t be able to tell the difference between your bedroom or home office and the typical dorm room. Then, years from now, you can tell your kids how much you hated it and wished you’d lived in an apartment.